Wellington, Dunedin and Auckland have been confirmed as host cities for WXV 1 Tests
The world’s top six international women’s rugby teams will play nine Tests during the tournament from 20 October to 4 November, with each match weekend venue hosting a standalone Friday night Test followed by a Saturday double-header.
WXV 1 will kick-off at Sky Stadium in New Zealand’s Capital city Wellington (20-21 October) before moving south to Dunedin’s Forsyth Barr Stadium (27-28 October), then on to Auckland where the tournament winner will likely be decided at Go Media Stadium Mt Smart (3-4 November).
The tournament will feature England, France, and Wales, who will be joined by the top three sides from the Pacific Four Series, which will be contested in July between reigning World Cup champions the Black Ferns, Australia, USA, and Canada. All nine Tests will be live on Sky Sport with kick-off times to be announced in due course.
Former Black Ferns Captain and New Zealand Rugby (NZR) Board Deputy Chair Dame Farah Palmer said:
“Fans across the world are going to be watching WXV 1 and watching Aotearoa and it’s an absolute privilege to have talented wāhine from the top six teams in the world playing across our country. Last year’s Rugby World Cup gave New Zealanders a taste of how thrilling and exciting the women’s game is, and now we have the chance to showcase these world class athletes across our country.
“We hope to see fans re-ignite the passion they showed for rugby and women’s sport during the Rugby World Cup and to re-create the unique and exciting atmosphere that captured the imagination of the rugby world.
“It is a huge year for our Black Ferns with the O’Reilly Cup and Pacific Four Series, and the massive goal of qualifying for the inaugural WXV 1 Tournament, which would allow them to return home to play in front of their whanau and fans on home soil.”
The Black Ferns Test season will kick off on 29 June, with Australia hosting the Black Ferns in the first of two O’Reilly Cup matches at Kayo Stadium in Brisbane. The Test will double as a Pacific Four Series fixture. The second O’Reilly Cup match will be played in New Zealand on Saturday 30 September at FMG Stadium Waikato in Hamilton. The Black Ferns travel to Canada in July for final two rounds of the Pacific Four Series, which includes Australia, Canada and the USA, with the goal of qualifying for WXV 1 by finishing among the top three.
WXV 1 Schedule:
20-21 October: Sky Stadium, Wellington
27-28 October: Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin
3-4 November: Go Media Stadium Mt Smart, Auckland
WXV 1 explained:
WXV 1 will consist of six teams and be played in a cross-pool format. Participating teams will include the top three teams from the Women’s Six Nations (Europe) and the top three teams from the World Rugby Pacific Four Series (Rugby Americas North/Oceania). Each team will play three matches.